Help to monitor Forest birdlife

A wildlife group which aims to monitor the bird life of the Ashdown Forest is hoping to attract new members.

About 20 people currently belong to The Ashdown Bird Group. Detailed information it gathers is submitted to the Sussex Ornithological Society, the Forest Centre, and the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre plus other organisations such as BirdTrack and English Nature.

The Group would like to recruit new members and points out the 6,000 acres of Forest is a lot to monitor. They allocate each member a ‘patch,’ which he or she is asked to walk twice a month (and more often, if possible, during the breeding season,) preferably using the same route, and noting each bird seen – with a six figure grid reference.

Records are submitted online, using an easy system, which incorporates other items such as sex, age, behaviour, etc. It takes about an hour or two and inputting records is quick and easy.

They are a friendly and cheerful lot – the sometimes solitary task of patch walking is compensated for by their social gatherings – a summer meal, Christmas drinks, an annual four day trip and regular visits to birding areas such as Dungeness, Rye Harbour, Pagham and north Kent.

All people need are a pair of binoculars, a GPS or smartphone with GPS, (or the ability to calculate grid references from an OS map,) internet access, a computer and reasonable IT skills. There is a trial period – so if you find after a few weeks that the role is not for you, that’s no problem. Information from Sue on: 01892 653572 or Shaun on: 01342 810410.